Arts & Culture: Visual art in Amherst, theater at UMass and Northampton, and more

  • “Beach Bound” by Eric Broudy, part of a photo exhibit this month at Galley A3 in Amherst. Photo by Eric Broudy/from Galley A3 website

  • “Better Days” by Larry Rankin, part of a photo exhibit this month at Galley A3 in Amherst. Photo by Larry Rankin/from Galley A3 website

  • Oil paintings by Valerie Bassett are on view at the Burnett Galley at Amherst’s Jones Library this month.  Image from Burnett Gallery website

  • “Orlando,” a play adapted from a Virginia Wolff novel, takes place Nov. 12 and 16-19 at the Rand Theater at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Image from UMass Theater

  • Chilean-born singer Natalia Bernal and her ensemble come to CitySpace in Easthampton Nov. 16 in a benefit to renovate the city’s Old Town Hall. Image from CitySpace website

Published: 11/11/2022 3:57:55 PM
Art in Amherst

AMHERST — It’s a busy month in town this month when it comes to art, starting with Gallery A3, where work by photographers Eric Broudy and Larry Rankin is on display.

“A Look Through Two Lenses” finds both artists exploring detail and abstraction in photographs taken on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, from Broudy’s “Beach Bound,” a partial portrait of a person in shorts against a bright yellow car, and Rankin’s look at worn row boats.

Rankin says his new images “represent what you might see if you pause and observe, if you imagine and wait, or if you come back the next day when the light might be better.”

Broudy and Rankin will discuss their work in an online forum Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m., and the discussion will include a conversation with Northampton photographer Stephen Petegorsky and a look at his work.

Across the street from Galley A3 at the Burnett Gallery in Jones Library, oil paintings by Jo-Ann Denehy and Valerie Bassett are on exhibit through Nov. 29. Denehy focuses on landscapes, while Bassett offers still lives and local scenes.

And at Hope & Feathers Framing and Gallery, John Krifka’s “Mostly Flowers” features graphically colorful and intimately scaled images of flora.

A journey of self-discovery

AMHERST — Virginia Wolff’s “Orlando: A Biography,” a magical-realist novel about a time-traveling English poet who changes sex and lives for centuries, is getting a fresh adaptation on stage at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The UMass Theater Department’s version of “Orlando,” directed by Iris Sowlat, takes place Nov. 12 and 16 through 19 at the Rand Theater in the Bromery Center for the Arts. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Nov. 12 and 17 through 19, 10 a.m. on Nov. 16, and also 2 p.m. Nov. 19.

In the play, written and adapted from Wolff’s novel by Sarah Ruhl, Orlando is a charismatic British noble who becomes Queen Elizabeth I’s lover. Commanded by the monarch to stay forever young, Orlando travels around the world and through five centuries to understand who they really are.

Orlando’s journey, through relationships and exploring their own gender, is an expression of “queer joy,” says Sowlat, who, along with many cast and production team members, identifies as queer.

“It’s an optimistic story that’s about people who happen to be queer, being joyful and being exceptional,” Sowlat said in a statement.

To purchase tickets for the play, visit fac.umass.edu/Online, click on “Performing Arts,” and scroll down to “all performance sold at Box Office.”

Faces of farming

NORTHAMPTON — Who’s growing the local produce you eat? The Pioneer Valley Workers Center (PVWC) and the Botanic Garden at Smith College have teamed up to showcase their names and faces in an exhibit at the Botanic Garden.

“No Somos Maquinas: Farmworker Resistance in the Connecticut River Valley,” an exhibit in Spanish and English, features the words and portraits of farmworkers of the Connecticut River Valley, interpretive panels, a timeline of farmworker organizing and audio clips.

According to program notes, the exhibit also explores “the broken immigration system, the exclusion of farmworkers from basic labor protections, and the conditions that have compelled them to rise up.”

In a statement, Alfonso Neal, PVWC’s co-director and the exhibit’s photographer, said “Photography can show the monumentality of a moment in an instant, and nothing is more monumental and impactful than the faces and voices of farmworkers organizing in the fields and their communities.”

This is the second iteration of the “No Somos Maquinas” (We are not machines) project. The first exhibit, held in 2016 at the A.P.E. Gallery in downtown Northampton, featured oral histories and portraits of restaurant workers in Northampton.

The Botanic garden exhibit runs through Dec. 15.

 

How to become a feminist

HADLEY — In 2018, Northampton trauma therapist Peter Pruyn began writing a memoir about how he came to be a feminist. For the book’s release, he created a reading based on some excerpts from the memoir, to which he added some improvised piano playing.

From that experience, Pruyn (pronounced “prine”) has created a one-man, autobiographical play called “Up: One Man’s Journey to Feminism.” The production’s subtitle, he notes, speaks to a two-fold goal: to raise awareness of gender inequality in our society, and to raise the visibility of local organizations that work in the areas of gender equality and trauma prevention.

“Up,” which takes place at Happier Valley Comedy Nov. 13, 20 and 27 at 2:45 p.m., is based on chapters from Pruyn’s life, including attending an all-boys primary school, being the only man in a Women’s Studies class in college, and working as a bush pilot in Alaska. He’s also drawn on his experience helping female survivors of trauma.

Pruyn also adds piano music to these vignettes, and there will be an audience feedback session after the play’s conclusion. This isn’t his first brush with performance — he says he’s been involved with community theater and directed music in improv comedy shows — but “Up” is the first play he’s written.

Ultimately, he notes, the play culminates “in a personal reflection on male privilege as a fundamental barrier to social change.”

Tickets are available at uptheplay.ticketspice.com/tickets.

Music — and drinks and food — for a good cause

EASTHAMPTON — Selections of South American music come to Easthampton Nov. 16 when Chilean-born singer Natalia Bernal and her ensemble play the Blue Room at CitySpace, in a benefit for the renovation of Old Town Hall.

For what’s know as her “En Diablada” project, Bernal, who now lives in New York City, fuses Andean and other South American folkloric traditions with elements of jazz, blues and rock.

In her music, Bernal explores her memories and “dreams of the Atacama Desert, the people that inhabited the lands thousands of years ago, and how their heritage can teach us to navigate the new paradigms of society,” according to program notes.

She’ll be joined by four other musicians, including guitarist, co-composer and musical director Jason Ennis, who will play a separate set that includes work from his recent release “Jota Sete” and Brazilian and jazz music.

The evening begins at 6 p.m. with a cocktail hour (including appetizers), with music following from 7 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $75 and will go toward the ongoing effort to turn the second floor of Old Town Hall into a multi-purpose performance venue.

To register for the event, visit cityspaceeasthampton.org/presents.

— Compiled by Steve Pfarrer


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